Skip to main content

tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  April 7, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

5:00 pm
out and see how we're judging who's in favor of the middle class and who's in favor of the corporations. >> got it. and it's >> >> i'm glad to know of it, i congratulate you on your efforts, do keep us posted. thank you, sir. thank you as well for spending the afternoon with us. i'm dylan ratigan. "hardball" up right now. who moved my government? let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, down to the wire. in just over 24 hours, the united states government will shut down unless the two sides can reach agreement. we learned just today of some cases in which republicans, no surprise, have said yes, of course, cut government spending as a matter of principle. but just keep the money coming to my district. we're going to play some
5:01 pm
"hardball" with a tea party leader. what will it take besides unconditional surrender to the tea party's demands to keep the united states government open. also, john boehner says there's no daylight between him and the tea party. we can believe that or more likely, as someone said, boehner has the tea party holding a blow torch at his back. they want no compromise. liberal democrats don't want president obama to give anybody more than he already has. so how do these two leaders of these two parties make the deal they want to make without stw infuriating their bases. plus we're all potential players in donald trump's new reality show. to believe trump, you have to believe what he calls the con. to make barack obama president of the united states was hatched 50 years ago before he was born. try wrapping your head around the real birther theory of donald trump. and wisconsin pay back. two elections made it clear wisconsin voters of angry with governor scott walker's attacks on the union movement. let me finish tonight with
5:02 pm
the fact that four out of five republicans now have doubts about what country our president was born in. what a revolten development for the republic and why that makes perfect bait for donald trump. we start with the shutdown showdown and the tea party wants in exchange -- what they do want in exchange for keeping government open. mark mekler is the cofounder of the tea party. it's great to have a leader on and it may be that you're in charge of the united states government in this sense. you guys are calling the shots. what is your demand? is it still absolute victory, you want all the cuts the republicans talked about in that first house bill this year, hr 1, $100 billion currently prorated to $61 billion. you want that or nothing, right? >> that's what we're looking for. that's correct, chris. >> which means is that the deal maker, the only deal maker? >> you know, we're not in congress so it's not our job to make the deal. our job is to reflect the american people. 57% of the american people say they're looking for bigger cuts or shut the government down.
5:03 pm
we're reflecting that. it's up to the folks in congress to step up to the table and actually get a deal done. >> so let's ask you this. the way most people make deals, you apply -- suppose you want to buy a house and you say i'm going to pay 105 for it and the owner says, no, i want 130. so you go somewhere in the middle. that's not the way you do business. >> well, it is the way we do business. $100 billion is minimal. >> but you said that's your opening bid. >> no, it was much higher. the american people spoke loud and clear in november. they wanted serious stuff done. >> what was your opening bid? >> 2.6 cents out of every federal dollar spent. >> what was your opening bid? >> we want to see them pass a balanced budget. >> your opening bid, would you please acknowledge that was $100 billion. >> no, that was the opening bitd from the republican bid. >> what the tea party's opening bid? >> the tea party doesn't put out an opening bid. >> where are you willing to be happy with the results. if boehner comes in and says, you know what, i think 43, $43 billion is about right, i'm willing to go with that.
5:04 pm
what would you say? >> our people would say that's not good enough. >> suppose he says 99 billion. >> they'd want to push for 100 billion. >> so that's your position. let me ask you about these other things in your positioning. boehner said -- here he is, boehner, talking about these additional things. they're not really monetary, they have to do with values. well, if you want to call it abortion, fine. i think it's really about birth control, regulation at the environmental protection agency, thing about climate change. the cultural questions we argue about all the time. here he is talking about why he has them on his bill. let's listen. >> our goal is real clear. we're going to fight for the largest spending cuts we can get, and the policy riders that were attached to them. >> well, that's not in the clip i wanted. another clip shows policy riders meaning i want to have no more regulations by the epa in terms of climate change and i don't want any federal money going to planned parenthood. is that where you are? where's the tea party on planned parenthood? >> we have not taken a position on those.
5:05 pm
we're looking for fiscal responsibility. the riders are something the republicans are pushing for their base. >> so you'd be willing tonight to say if you can get me my whole 100 billion, which is down to 61 in terms of the months left in the year, i'm not going to complain about this other stuff. >> what i'm going to tell you -- >> can you answer a question? did you go to michele bachmann school? will you settle for the $100 billion if you don't go with these other riders. >> if you want me to behave like somebody who runs an organization. this is what we're told to do by our membership. >> your membership should tell you they care about abortion rights or birth control? >> they tell us to go for the 100 billion. >> that's interesting. so who has the blow torch to the back of john boehner saying i want no more money going for birth control at planned parenthood. >> all i can tell you is we're pushing for $100 billion. that's what they promised in the november elections, that's what we expect them to deliver. >> let me ask you about the way this is going to work out. in the next election, you guys -- how many people do you
5:06 pm
think got elected based on tea party support. >> i don't know. >> do you think you got the republicans in the majority? >> the tea party movement, absolutely. >> do you think they could lose if they don't play ball with you? >> yes. >> and not playing ball with you, if boehner is watching right now, and he may have fox on, i don't know what they watch. they may have cnn but they would be smart to have it on because you're on. what would you want to tell john boehner when he meets with the president and harry reid. what do you want him to do? do you want him to say, mr. president, we want $61 billion in federal cuts, that's the current rate of what would get us $100 billion annually and nothing short of that. you want him to do that. >> what we want him to do is to protect america and prevent a government shutdown. we'd like to see him tell the president to encourage the senate to pass hr 1. it's sitting there. they can, they have the power to prevent a government shutdown right now and he should ask the president -- >> let's talk about a week from now, two weeks from now, three weeks from now. we don't really know about how hot this country is going to get
5:07 pm
if people can't go to national parks, they can't go to yosemite, they can't go to the smithsonian institute, their refund checks are not coming, soldiers are not getting paid, all kind of things we're not fully aware of aren't going to happen when these federal employees get furloughed and put off the job. i don't care about the blackberries not working. but what do you think is going to be the mood of the country two or three weeks into a government shutdown and how are they going to feel toward the tea party. >> i think they're going to be thrilled with the tea party because the tea party is reflecting their values. we can get the soldiers paid. there's a bill out there right now to authorize paying the military. the democrats are standing in the way of that. the president has said he would veto that bill. i was stunned to hear him say bring on the shutdown. he said i'm not going to fund the military. i did not going to sign that bill. even if there's bipartisan support in the senate to pass that bill, i think that's outrageous and goes against the majority of the american public opinion. >> would you say social security checks should still go out? >> they are going out regardless.
5:08 pm
>> you want them to go out? >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. mark mechler who is deep down a politician. joining me is -- you're laughing because you see how these guys play the game too. we're for all government spending cuts exempt the stuff that affects the soldiers, which makes perfect sense and anybody out there over 65 because every single one of them votes. let's go. senator, thank you for joining us. let me ask you about the fact of this one-week extension. the tea party fellow made a good point. the president doesn't want a deal, he just wants the government to go back with the big deal or nothing. no more short h-term, get along kind of things. why is the president not supporting a get along and see what we can do next week. >> i think what we need in government is predict ability and these short-term resolutions give us anything but predictability in government. it's a darn poor way to do business. by the way, the six-month cr we're working on and hopefully will get agreement on and keep the government operating isn't
5:09 pm
long term but gets it to the ending of the fiscal year. that's what the president is looking at and i am too. >> what are you worried about in terms of the government shutting down out in montana. what's real? people can live without the smithsonian. i always tell people come to walker, you already pay for these museums, you ought to come once in a while. but absent museums, smithsonians, national parks, things like that, i'm told that the big money is still going to roll. checks will still go to social security recipients, medicare bills are still going to be paid. what are you worried about. >> i'll give you a few examples. in montana we have a high rate of enlistment for folks to go fight around the world, particularly in iraq and afghanistan. those soldiers not getting paid on that military field is a travesty and shouldn't be happening. you know, this is a time where folks are getting refund checks from the irs, critically important. a lot of people budget around those refund checks. they're not going to happen. you know, the list goes on and on and on and on and on. contracts that are being paid
5:10 pm
for for federal funds for contractors and building rent and those kind of things are going to end up not getting paid. the list is huge. and that's bad. you know, we're just coming out of the worst economic downturn since the great depression, chris. and this kind of government shutdown makes no sense whatsoever. do we need to get a good -- arms around the deficit and the debt? absolutely. and we can do that. but wer never going to do it just by looking at 12% of the budget, which is called discretionary spending. we need a long-term plan. the fiscal commission came out with a good plan, a format, a blue present, whatever you want to call it to go forth. >> did you support that blueprint? >> i supported the blueprint to moving forward, absolutely. were there things in it i didn't like? absolutely. but that's the way we're going to get out of this mess is to put everything on the table and save serious dollars. i mean i went back to montana, i go back every weekend -- >> wait a minute, senator.
5:11 pm
you just said you liked the erskine bowles plan to reduce the cost of government which had a lot of tricky stuff in there. the deal was if it got 14 votes it would have been soundly supported. would you have been the 12th vote? would you have voted for it like durbin did? >> i absolutely would have because i think the blueprint is right. are there things in it that aren't -- that i disagree with? absolutely, chris. but this is a give-and-take situation. it's a negotiation. >> well, that's not the way the tea party sees it. they want to win it all. let me ask you this. you've got a plan out there to deny unemployment benefits to people that have a million dollars in assets. what's that about? do people actually do that, claim unemployment jobless benefits when they have got a lot of money? >> they are. that's a fact. as we try to get our fiscal house in order, taxpayers shouldn't be paying unemployment benefits for millionaires. it's just common sense. it was the right thing to do. >> is that going to reduce the federal debt? >> well, absolutely, because unemployment -- there's taxpayer
5:12 pm
support to that that we'll be able to give it to the people who really need it. >> are you ready to go all the way with that in cutting out social security and stuff like that for millionaires, benefits? all these federal programs? it's been idea that's been talked about over the years. should donald trump, not that i'm going to be too hard on him tonight, i already have that planned. but should guys like donald trump be pulling down unemployment checks, not that he's ever been unemployed, but medicare checks for doctors when he can afford to have the best doctors in new york. should someone like that or michael bloomberg, warren buffett, should they get social security checks at 65, yes or no? >> i'll just tell you this, entitlements need to be on the table. there's a way we can deal with it. whether it's means testing or other ways to make sure it functions well for generations and generations to come and doesn't add to our debt. >> every time i see cbs used to do these programs, years ago, that show these big boats, these yachts going through boca raton, florida, and they'd say these
5:13 pm
people are drawing social security. what's your reaction as a populist, a guy with a tractor under him. what do you think when you hear that kind of report? i'm not kidding. i know it's ridiculous, but these people are pulling checks. they don't want to miss a buck. >> well, that's exactly right on one hand. on the other hand they paid into it too. what i'm saying, chris, there's things we can do here. i'm going to tell you, in the senate i think there's people on both sides of the aisle that want to negotiate a long-term deal to get our debt and deficit under control. i think it can be done. entitlements, military spending, discretionary spending, tax reform, all that stuff needs to be addressed. >> are you guys sleeping on couches this weekend in the senate? >> i will be here if there's a shutdown, no doubt about that. if we don't have a shutdown, i'll be back into the big sky of montana. >> you and chet huntley. thank you very much. senator john tester. coming up -- a great senator. coming up, between john boehner and the president, who's got the most pressure on them from behind? both these guys, look at them
5:14 pm
now, feel the pressure. it looks like boehner is sweating more, or crying, whatever. the president never cries. the tea party wants boehner to push for deeper cuts or liberals who worry the president is giving too much and not being tough enough. who's standing up to their own people. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] it's 2011. wonder where the durango's been for the last two years? well, it toured around europe, getting handling and steering lessons on those sporty european roads. it went back to school, got an advanced degree in technology. it's been working out -- more muscle and less fat. it's only been two years, but it's done more in two years than most cars do in a lifetime.
5:15 pm
here's a number from our nbc/wall street journal poll. for the second straight time a plurality of americans view president obama as a moderate. two in ten call him somewhat liberal. he's improving with independents, seniors and womens, key blocks he needs if he's going to win a second term. very interesting. we'll be right back.
5:16 pm
an accident doesn't have to slow you down. introducing better car replacement, available only with liberty mutual auto insurance. if your car's totaled, we give you the money for a car one model year newer. to learn more, visit us today. responsibility. what's your policy?
5:17 pm
back to "hardball." the showdown over the government
5:18 pm
shutdown is shaping up to be a political test over who can survive the economy -- survive the challenges within his own party. can speaker boehner control those unruly tea partiers who refuse to give in on any spending cuts. can president obama strike a deal with republicans without alienating progressive liberals in his own party. who's in a tighter vice. let's bring in two political analysts. gentlemen, let me talk to you about this fight. this is one of those interesting things. boehner looks like he's in the most trouble, because he seems to look as if he's almost going to cry or he's nervous or he's sweating. seriously. i don't say this lightly. i feel for this guy. these are not professional politicians behind him, they're newbies. some have come in and they just want to win, win, win and not compromise. >> what i find interesting about this is i think a narrow sort of poker terms, boehner is doing very well. i think he's cleaning the president's clock. he's got the white house up to $35 billion or something like
5:19 pm
that. >> starting with zero. >> yeah. these are big, big cuts. but no matter how cleverly, and i think pretty well boehner has played the inside game, he's losing two levels of the outside game. the first to the tea party people. you had one of them on saying $61 billion or bust. and i think the wider public, which is upset with everybody, but i think in the end will still, despite the clever maneuvering by boehner on the military funding and all that, still more likely blame the republicans. >> richard wolffe, is boehner in a vice? he's got the president pushing from one side, the tea party behind him and social conservativists. mechler said i'm not with then, i want to cut the money. my group doesn't care about these other things like birth control and environmental protection. >> let's talk about the inside game versus the outside game. right now he only has to play the inside game and he's doing it well. >> the president or boehner? >> boehner is. the speaker.
5:20 pm
he is actually -- all he has to do is care about the republican challenge he's going to face in the primaries and the people who put him there. the problem is there's going to be a deal. at this point he doesn't have to deal but there will be a deal. >> there will be a deal? >> of course there's going to be a deal. >> don't strikes always end? >> yes, they do. and governments reopen after a shutdown. there will be a deal and that deal is not going to be $100 billion. >> do you agree there's going to be a deal in the foreseeable future? >> here's the -- again, to go back to the poker game. here's where the president made a mistake. or two things that made a problem. democrats didn't pass a budget last year which means that there's no fire break for the president. he's basically doing this himself, because there's no democratic marker from the senate. that's number one. number two, the president agreed to these little bites of the apple with the continuing resolutions. >> current spending. >> first was two weeks for $4 billion. then the republicans came back for another two weeks for $6 billion. now the republicans are back saying we just want a little bit
5:21 pm
more, sir. how about one week for $12 billion and that's difficult for the president. republicans like continuing it that way. >> let's watch this interesting development. here's what john boehner said last night about his relationship with tea party people, with house members of the tea party. let's listen. >> you know what the democrats say, they say they could cut a deal with you but you won't buck the tea party. >> listen, there's no daylight between the tea party and me. >> you know, that's a big development, richard. last fall he was talking about how they were going to have their first adult moment. a bit dismissive. now he's them. >> he doesn't need to reach out to independents. he doesn't have to play the bigger game for the republican party. he just has to work for house republicans. that's all he needs for his job. it's the president who has to speak to a bigger audience. it's the republican candidates -- >> we're talking as recently as december speaking to "new yorker" magazine in december about how he'll -- keep moving the prompter, please.
5:22 pm
>> they shut down already. >> john boehner spoke in new york about how to deal with newcomers. he said this is going to be probably the first really big adult moment for the new republican majority. you can underline adult. this is him peeking. and for people never in politics it's going to be one of those growing moments. it's going to be difficult, but we'll have to find a way to help education members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we don't do it. that is a bit paternalistic or patronizing, if you will. >> and when you have to say something like there's no daylight between me and the tea party, it means there is. it means there is. and secondly, yes, and richard is absolutely right. in a way, the president wins by losing here. because i'm criticizing him as a poker player. but in the larger sense, if -- you had a graphic on earlier about how the president is doing better among moderates. >> yes. >> if they end up with a final resolution of 35, $40 billion in
5:23 pm
cuts or something like that and it becomes finalized, the president -- boehner is then going to have a challenge from the right, but the president is going to win because he's going to be the guy who was around when the moderate deal was made. >> american politics is always based on who can get to the center. >> he did health care, he did a lot of things last year, a lot of stimulus, a lot of stuff that helped him. but now he's saying it's time to go to the center. but boehner is saying no, he now has to go to the right. is that a problem? >> it's a problem. but the bigger problem is this. they got the majority back by talking about jobs. the president wasn't talking about jobs, they were going to focus on jobs. tell me one job this is going to create. even boehner says it's going to cost more to shut down the government and reopen it. they're off subject. they're off topic. >> you don't -- you've not playing dumb. you know what the argument is. the less government spends -- >> what fascinates me by the whole thing. >> does anyone think it creates a job? one job? >> fascinating to watch the
5:24 pm
president on this because he has this ability to seem like he's being dragged to the middle. he did it on health care to the dismay of some on the left of his party. now he's being, quote, dragged or i'm saying he's being outmaneuvered politically by boehner, but where the president is going to end up is in the vicinity of a moderate deal that's going to -- within the context of current politics that's going to raise his numbers with moderates. >> according to reports, the stakes have taken an emotional turn for boehner. today the "l.a. times" quotes the emotional toll of the protracted debate had been apparent earlier in the day when boehner choked up in a closed door meeting in republicans over the support he received for his hard-line stance. also politico told the gop conference on monday that those who voted against him the last time around abandoned him, a message some lawmakers privately said was overemotional. so he's getting emotional about people who screwed him and people who have loved him. this guy is really unstable
5:25 pm
here. emotionally he seems to go in either direction. if you love me, oh, if you don't love me, oh, the guy is so sensitive. >> what he's saying there, though, is, look, you abandoned me on that continuing resolution thing. don't abandon me on this. in other words, he's looking forward to the deal that ultimately i think richard is right is going to be cut. he's basically saying to those people, you screwed me on the earlier thing, you've got to stick with me on this one. i think that's what the message was. >> you mean that song don't comt love me anymore? >> he's saying you abandoned me, you've got to stick with me. >> he's crying because he didn't want to have two bad choices, his actual bad deal is shut down or losing the support of his co-workers. both of them are bad for him. bad for republicans in general, they're bad for him, and they're going to have to go through much more pain. >> i think we're going to be able to watch this at the end of the week and you're going to see
5:26 pm
boehner looking nervous and sweaty and almost crying and obama kind of delightfully debonair. >> compromise works for obama. it does not -- >> he said that first. >> i agree with everything he says. >> that's right, but he said it first. >> by a nanosecond. >> by a hair. thank you howard and richard. the president win bias going to the center. the republicans have come toward the right and are going too far right to win an election. up next, speaking of too far right or something, glenneck explains his departure, as you might explain -- look at this. is that sane behavior? oh, geez, i can't look at him anymore. i guess that's what happened. nobody could. we'll see more. he's telling himself now the modern day paul revere. you can see him now. one if by land, two if my sea. glenn beck, you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. it's positive.
5:27 pm
positive? we're gonna have a baby. ♪ ♪ now, when i was a little boy
5:28 pm
♪ at the age of 5 ♪ i had somethin' in my pocket [ male announcer ] the four-door sports car. we're gonna have a baby. [ male announcer ] nissan maxima -- innovation for daddy... we're gonna have a baby! [ male announcer ] ...innovation for all. riding the dog like it's a small horse is frowned upon in this establishment! luckily though, ya know, i conceal this bad boy underneath my blanket just so i can get on e-trade. check my investment portfolio, research stocks... wait, why are you taking... oh, i see...solitary. just a man and his thoughts. and a smartphone... with an e-trade app. ♪ nobody knows... [ male announcer ] e-trade. investing unleashed.
5:29 pm
5:30 pm
back to "hardball" and the sideshow. first up, why is glenn beck really leaving his show? if you ask him, he's following in the footsteps of paul revere. >> i want to verify something that is true. i am going to leave this program later this year. paul revere did not get up on the horse and say i'm going to do this for the rest of my life. he didn't do it. he got off the horse at some point and fought in the revolution. and then he went back to silversmithing. i have other things to do. and not because it's good or bad for business, but i think you, out of all the people, will truly get this. our only business is the business of freedom and our country at this time. >> great, thank you. one if by land, two if by sea, three if you think beck's departure has raised the iq over at fox. up next, the boy who cried politics. here he is, 5-year-old jesse coxson, the kid who would be
5:31 pm
governor. >> what's making you so sad? >> cause everyone tells me that i'm too small to be the governor of new jersey. >> i love that accent. well, he got his chance after that video went viral. the real governor of new jersey, chris christie, yesterday named jesse honorary governor for the day. even offered him some tips. >> you and i have a talk back there about property taxes? >> of course i did. >> what did i tell you? >> don't raise them. >> right. and if you do raise them, what happens? >> i'm not going to be -- i'm not going to be the governor for that long. >> that's right. >> that's chris christie, a recognizable human being the republicans could probably use as a presidential candidate. now for tonight's big number. if you've covered politics for some time, you're used to press releases like this one out of the senate democratic leader harry reid's office that reads republicans have shown they
5:32 pm
couldn't careless about those who have the least. well, on the other side from the republican congressman leader, eric cantor, democrats have not displayed the same interest in listening to the american people. this partisan flame throwing happens more than you think. a harvard professor analyzed all the press releez sent out by various u.s. senators over a two-year period and according to that study how much of their communications were simply to taunting the other side. 27%, almost a third, 27% of congressional press releases are just wasteful school yard taunts, but then again you already knew that, didn't you. tonight's big number. up next, donald trump is now a full-on birther. he's suggesting that president obama has perpetrated the biggest con in american political history and this crazy talk is working as he's surging in the polls out there on the right. are we all just potential players in trump's latest reality show? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
5:33 pm
5:34 pm
5:35 pm
5:36 pm
good evening. i'm simon hobbs with your cnbc market wrap. stocks pairing losses to finishing only slightly lower today. the dow industrials slipping 17, the s&p 500 down 2 and the nasdaq shedding 3.5. weighing on stocks, that quake in japan. a spike in oil prices and the prospect of a government shutdown. but some better than expected retail reports helped the markets bounce back from what was a 100-point decline. march sales figures beating estimates with a gain of 1.5%. analysts had actually been expecting a slight drop in same-store sales. airlines and consumer discretionary stock still under pressure as oil prices top $110 a barrel. drug maker xenoport shares skyrocketing after the fda
5:37 pm
approved its new drug for treating restless leg syndrome. overseas the european central bank boosted interest rates to 1.25 in response to rising inflation there. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide, now back to "hardball." you are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. he may not have been born in this country. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was, of course, donald trump on the "today" show basically pushing his conspiracy theory about president obama's birth, saying that he may not have been born in the united states. it's called birtherism. and are we all just players now in the latest trump reality show, which is what it's becoming. steve writes about this for we also have earl lewis on, host of "inside city hall" in new york. let me go to earl on this. it seems to me that this is a reality show in the making.
5:38 pm
no one who thinks about it believes that a young woman, a white woman in this case with an african husband somehow wired it so that it would look like she was in the country when she snuck off secretly without any paperwork off to kenya or somewhere else, came ba, had it wider with the hospitals to lie and tell the local newspapers that these reports of birth were true. lied with the government, got the government of hawaii to cooperate. this elaborate conspiracy theory. trump goes on and says nobody knew him when he was a kid so he enlarges on it to the point of suggesting that he is an imposter, that he's something else playing to the right wing rubes out there. i don't know who you call these people but they're not very learned about this, who don't want to think about it, who just don't like him basically because he's black. i think that's what it's about. your thoughts, earl. that's my thought. >> i don't know where it comes from, but i do know that what donald trump is doing is the way to get a sizeable number of voters interested in you and it seems to be working.
5:39 pm
>> who are these voters? what kind of people are they? >> they are the kind of people who don't pay attention to the long list of facts that you just read -- >> because they want to believe the worst about this guy named barack obama. they're willing to believe it. >> the particulars of the birther case are not as important as the fact that there are some people who just can't accept the fact that the guy is the president, for whatever reason. they can't accept the fact that what they believe in, what they voted for, what they hoped for, what they want in foreign policy and domestic policy is not what the majority of the country chose in 2008. >> well, here's trump's exchange with meredith vieira on "today." let's listen. >> i have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding. i have the tea party has done an amazing service for this country, because people now, even very liberal democrats, are starting to think for the first time, well, maybe we can't just keep giving everything away. >> well, what do you make of that? what is going on here with the
5:40 pm
right, the far right? i think they were desperate for a leader, someone with a lot of money, a lot of prestige, a smart guy and say, hey, this guy believes it, maybe it's right. he gives credibility to this crowd. >> absolutely. >> he's probably got the highest income of anybody who's a birther. i think that's probably fair. >> the irony of this is that even if what trump is suggesting, the conspiracy theory that he seems to have stumbled on. >> that his mother engaged in, his father engaged in, the hospital engaged in, the state of hawaii, everybody that knew him as a kid so that he could be president of the united states of mixed racial background, that little mother figured all this out. isn't she something? >> now, it's not true at all but even if you took the basic premise of this, that an american mother happened to be in kenya when her son was born and a few days later brought him back to the united states, that is what trump is now basically alleging happened. that would basically be the circumstances -- >> there's no evidence of that. >> that would basically be the
5:41 pm
circumstances of the birth of john mccain who was born in the panama canal zone to american parents. >> let me go back to earl. earl, you'll be more helpful, i think. when you have the evidence here that there was a birth announcement at the time of his birth that and nine days after his birth, somebody must have had a plan long before this con occurred by the president, somebody said let's have a kid and let's have him over in kenya with the idea of saying he was born in the united states. i mean this conspiracy had to be hatched back before. you're wrong -- you're absolutely wrong, steve. the way this thing has to work is before he was born because you have to wire the whole thing. you can't say the mother happened to be over in kenya and wired it so it appeared in the newspapers back then and the hospitals would all -- you have to set this up way ahead of time. >> you're applying a degree of logic. >> that's what i'm trying to point out. the average interviewer is not asking the right questions. it's a reality show. >> there is no right question to ask trump, because this is something people wanting to believe no matter what you tell
5:42 pm
them factually. if you correct them on the facts, they will invent new facts. >> then what is going on here. >> let me tell you what's going on. i sat with trump for a one-on-one interview about after an hour last month. he's a very sharp, savvy goi. he knows how to go out and push buttons to get people to watch his show, to push him higher in the polls. >> so was this a reality show cauldroning for president? >> he carefully puts in a may. it may be this or it may be that so when you turn the cards over, he'll say, look, i never said it definitively. >> he said it may be the biggest con in history. where's this language -- would you listen to the words being used. biggest con in history. what's that say to you? >> some of the words that i heard or that i focus are are the more serious ones because this to me is foolishness. when he talks about foreign trade pacts and manufacturing
5:43 pm
policy and how wee getting our pants beaten off us, he sounds like your colleague, ed schultz over there. he's got some substance and i think we should focus on the substance. >> that's not what's getting these numbers. let's give donald trump his due. a new poll has 20% of republicans now are sure obama was definitely born in the united states. now here we go, what's going on here. four out of five republicans have doubts about the president's birth in the united states. steve, isn't that the reality he's playing with? he's got a big dance floor here. >> sure. >> if four out of five republicans have doubts about him born here, trump is the only guy willing to say he has doubts. therefore, the other guys, including probably michele bachmann who won't play this game because they're serious lose. because if the only guy that says i've got doubts just like the four out of five of you have doubts, he's on the playing field, they're not. he's playing birther politics, they're not. he might get a lot of votes out of this. your thoughts, steve. >> there's a poll out that says he's in second place right now nationally in the republican field. 17%. but i think that's a very
5:44 pm
significant number but i think it's more significant for what it says about the rest of the republican field. about the fact that they are -- >> what, being honest? >> this is a field that does nothing to excite anybody on the republican side. >> one way to get everybody excited is to say insane things. we just saw glenn beck do it for a couple of years. all you have to do in this medium is say loony tune stuff, far left, far right and you will find your niche. what he has done is found the niche of the birther crowd. probably some truther on the democratic side could have pulled the number that george w. bush blew up the world trade center and he or she could have gotten 5% of the democratic vote. there are a lot of nuts that are desperate for information. deep down they don't want the information, they want the sales pitch. your thoughts. >> i agree with you. to complete my thought there, the issue is this is sort of a phenomenon of the early months of the republican nominating process. this is why i don't think he'll run for president because right now he's a celebrity who can connect with the base by saying things like this. if he actually gets in the race, in all of his past gets
5:45 pm
unearthed. >> that's months from now. >> this is a guy -- >> here's what i bet. earl, is he running? >> listen, all i'll say, folks, is that jimmy carter was unthinkable, bill clinton was unthinkable, ronald reagan was unthinkable. almost up until the day that they won. >> whattage ta agitates me is t con is really being perpetrated by donald trump. you're wrong, he's running and this is stuff he shouldn't be saying. he's ten times smarter than this. >> look what he said ten years ago. >> what? >> ten years ago he was trying to sell a book and pulled the same con. he talked about the surcharge on the wealthy -- >> no, this is real. i think he's running this time. >> he had a platform. >> donald is running. he can't be this crazy and not running, it's one or the other. up next -- you have to be loony tune republican party to look at the numbers going up in the poll. coming back we're talking about payback in wisconsin. what's really happening out there. this is not a reality show, it's what's happening with workers in
5:46 pm
wisconsin. the voters are fed up with that governor out there. this guy overreached. they're going after scott walker out there. that's ahead. we're america's natural gas. and here's what we did today in homes all across america: we created the electricity that powered the alarm clocks and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school. cooked the cube steaks and steamed the veggies. entertained dad, and mom, and a neighbor or two. kept watch on the house when they slept. and tomorrow we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at
5:47 pm
democrats are hoping to beat senator scott brown up in massachusetts next fall, obviously, but the senator looks strong for re-election right now. a new poll up there shows the only democrat to hold below 50% is former congressman joe kennedy and he's ruled out running so far. brown led every other potential challenger by 15 points. brown also has a big campaign war chest. he raised $1.7 million in the first quarter and has more than $8 million in the bank. we'll be right back. ♪
5:48 pm
what do you see yourself doing after you do retire? client comes in and they have a box. and inside that box is their financial life. people wake up and realize. "i better start doing something." we open up that box. we organize it. and we make decisions. we really are here to help you. they look back and think "wow. i never thought i could do this." but we've actually done it. [ male announcer ] visit and put a confident retirement more within reach. s it hit helps the lhe of companipanies like the she smallestt ofof th ththat lets yos your employeloy, pa and custcustomersvate and sharee so you can can unleash tsh the of your mor your peopleople. ñe
5:49 pm
5:50 pm
welcome back to "hardball." tuesday's elections this week in wisconsin are widely seen as a referendum and rejection on governor scott walker out there who made a national name for himself when he took on the unions and basically the turnout out was tremendous. greater than it's ever been in this, in a race to fill his old seat, and the other contest, the state spoke state supreme court, the democrat came out from nowhere, and now holds a lead, a race that's likely headed to a recount. ken vogel writes for politico. and ken writes for "the chicago tribune." is it they got a roust up in this race like they never were before? is that a fair fact, this state? >> absolutely. there's no question. there's also no question this
5:51 pm
was a referendum on scott walker. in many way the county executive race in milwaukee was more of a referendum. this was a seat that walker held before he was governor, the guy running to replace him was a real protege that expressed support for his policies. more attention has been on the court race because it's a statewide race and because the court could in fact end up deciding the fate of the collective bargaining reforming that walker pushed through. both big wins for labor, which really turned out get out the vote effort and outside advertising which reached a record in the supreme court race. it shows the race was really all about scott walker, as you just said. let's watch. >> jeff stone is running to county executive. >> jeff stone? >> i thought he was scott walker's twin. >> it sounds like more of the
5:52 pm
same. >> stone touted walker as a template. >> jobs have been lost and stone wants more of that that? >> worse, stone even said he stands with walker's unfair plan. >> you've got to be kidding me. >> jeff stone? >> jeff stone is scott walker. >> i think eight years of scott walker is enough. >> anybody thought the labor movement was dead was wrong. they are brilliant at this. they have come back and made the issue of almost their termination into a sales pitch. >> it reminds me of the '90s, when the clinton people had bob dole ads attaching newt gingrich. the same thing. this scenario reminds us of when shortly after barack obama's election, republicans had big victories, and a senate race in massachusetts. people were saying it was -- this is what's happening now, only it's in reverse. we're seeing it in the polling,
5:53 pm
a backlash against walker now. >> ken, tell me the -- let's move it around the country. these are some interesting numbers. down in florida, i never thought much of this guy's appeal, but rick scott is down, half of floridians disapprove of the job he's doing, more than twice as many disapproved in february. a friend of mine, john kasich, not doing well. it's almost 50%, twice what it was in january, he's sinking out there. and scott walker is doing better actually than the rest of them. i'm going to michigan right now. scott walker 53-41, their opinion of walker is strongly unfavorable. what's the michigan doing -- wisconsin is supposed to be up there? what do you think? >> first of all, it's bad for incumbents right now in states where they've got to solve these tremendous budget problems, but on top of that, you've got certainly -- with kasich and
5:54 pm
walker, you have republican governors who are slashing a lot of popular programs, they're going after collective bargaining, which has the union angry. >> why do you t do people suddenly like the unions? >> it's not so much love for the unions, but love no collective bargaining. folks are saying, do we really -- how is collective bargaining help us meet our budget deficits? that's the questions being asked. a lot of folks who don't belong to unions say at least unions help to keep basic wages up for everybody. >> keep the standard up. ken, your assessment. is it just about unions? about the progressives coming back? are we seeing a come democrat back to the left? people waking up to the fact that the republicans have the strong arm on them? >> i think it highlights the balancing act.
5:55 pm
on the one hand, is the reforms are very popular. very popular with the tea party wing, but if they push too far, they'll find a backlash. >> yoef reach. thank you very much. ken vogel, and clarence page. when we return, let me finish with donald trump. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ants to worry about how their children will get by without them. allstate wants you to worry about it a whole lot less. talk to an allstate agent about life insurance. are you in good hands? [ male announcer ] this intervention brought to you by niaspan. no, it's not about boys. it's about you. mom and i are worried about your health. yes, you're exercising, eating right, but the doctor said it's not enough. he's concerned about the plaque clogging your arteries. the doctor said you have coronary artery disease.
5:56 pm
he even told you about adding a cholesterol medicine that may help...niaspan. and you've done what? nothing. [ male announcer ] if you have high cholesterol and coronary artery disease, and diet and exercise are not enough, niaspan, along with diet and a bile acid-binding resin, is fda-approved not only to slow down plaque buildup but to actually help clear some of it away. dad, you have always taught me to push myself. now it's time for me to push you. [ male announcer ] niaspan is not for everyone, like people with stomach ulcers, liver, or serious bleeding problems. severe liver damage can occur when switching to niaspan from immediate-release niacin. blood tests are needed to check for liver problems. tell your doctor if you have muscle pain or weakness; this could be a sign of serious side effects. this risk can increase with statin use. tell your doctor about alcohol use, if you ever had gout, or are diabetic and experience increases in blood sugar. flushing, a common side effect, is warmth, redness, itching, or tingling of the skin. [ knock on door ] oops...i gotta go.
5:57 pm
[ male announcer ] ask your doctor about adding niaspan. fight back. fight plaque. love you, daddy.
5:58 pm
5:59 pm
let me finish tonight with donald temp's masterful move to convert the competition into a reality show. this reality show is a work of art. when it comes to hype like this birther thing, he's no apprentice. he's a grand master. it's based on his proven ability to get people to focus where he wants them to focus. staging, lighting, personality, suspension to get the audience's attention and not let it go. here it's birtherism, the dark suspicion that barack obama was not born in the u.s. and therefore ineligible to hold the office of president. if trump's willing to join them and the other candidates won't, he's in clover. what's not so obvious is whether he's thought through the supposed intrigue in his indictment. certainly it's even treasonous to assume the presidency